I don’t have resolutions. Sounds a bit strange, coming from a health coach. I talk about goals with my clients and support them in achieving them, and I host vision-board parties for women to get clear on what they want. What, no resolutions? Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have goals, because do I ever, lofty ones at that, but I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I set intentions.
In our life, we all have expectations. How things should be—in a job, a relationship, in life in general. But instead of setting expectations, I set an intention. Why? Control. Power. Perspective.
When I hold an expectation, I become submissive to the actions of someone else. My expectation is tied to the response or lack thereof from another person. In that moment, I have given away control, and in return I have set myself up for disappointment, frustration, anger, and an entire host of emotions tied to those expectations.
I live in Los Angeles, the land of traffic. When I let someone pull in front of me in traffic, I expect them to wave in return to thank me. Nope. Not okay. I cannot do that. I cannot expect them to do something I want them to do without ever communicating that I have that expectation. Besides, I don’t let someone in front of me just for them to thank me. No. My intention is to let them go in front of me. I intend to let them in. That is it. Their response or lack thereof should have no bearing on me.
You see, I have tied a feeling to an expectation. That feeling renders me powerless and creates a response in me that loses sight of the intention. I have given that power to someone else, and that is not fair, not to the other person, and least of all to myself. What happens when the expectation isn’t realized?
Expectations lead to disappointment, whereas intention leads to clear and inspired action. That is the most important step. I can set intentions all day long, but if I don’t follow them up with action, then it’s meaningless. Intention with action leads to empowerment. You are in control.
Now, this isn’t something I have all figured out, because guess what? I’m human and I do have expectations, but I’m certainly trying to shift my perspective surrounding them. How do I do that? Awareness. Once I am aware of an expectation I have created, then I can shift that expectation to a desired intention and create an action step to handle it.
We all have expectations. It’s natural. It’s how we handle our expectations that matters. When I set an intention for something, I am in control and can manage the desired outcome. At the beginning of the year, many people set weight loss goals and also an intention to get to the gym more, to eat healthier, and they also set an expectation of losing pounds. Maybe they sign up for a gym membership, or a cleanse, or meal delivery service. They’ve taken the intended steps.
But they have tied expectations to their intentions, and that’s where it gets dicey. You’ve signed up for a cleanse and expect to lose 10 pounds just like your friend did. Maybe you lost eight pounds, instead of the 10 you expected. What happens when you don’t lose the weight you expected? Disappointment, anger, despair…why me? Guess what happens next? Those feelings take over and then you lash out in other ways to further destroy the progress you did make and you feel bad about yourself, instead of celebrating what you did accomplish. Celebrate the wins. Let go of the expectation you have created. Those expectations do not support you. They are of no service to you. When you let go of what no longer serves you, you create space for all the things that do.
So, be it a resolution, goal, vision-boarding, intention, own it. Be in control of it. Take action upon it and move toward it with one small step every single day. If you have set a goal to be healthier in the new year, then set an intention for good health and take steps every day that support that goal—drinking more water, meal-prepping so you have healthier food at the ready, setting up an accountability partner who will meet you at the gym.
Intention coupled with action and 2016 will be your best and most fulfilled yet!